Nearly 200 million Americans across 34 states are under a heat-related advisory, including excessive heat warnings. Parts of the country are experiencing triple-digit temperatures, while others are experiencing damaging storms related to extreme heat.
While many of us in New England may rejoice at several days in the 90s, those working outside in the sun must take extra precautions to remain safe. Heat warnings and advisories are issued by the National Weather Service when conditions pose a threat to life or property. An average of 175 Americans are lost to heat related causes each year. Employers with crews operating in these conditions must encourage safe habits and monitor for warning signs of a heat illness.
Precautions To Take Working In the Sun & Heat
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing and a hat of some variety.
- Wear sunscreen. Skin cancer is prevalent in those with jobs performed outdoors.
- Hydrate with water regularly, at least 2 cups an hour.
- Pace yourself when getting started or when performing particularly strenuous tasks.
- Take breaks in the shade and cool down by removing layers.
- Avoid caffeine and excess salt that can dehydrate you.
- Watch out for those working around you.
Signs of Heat Illness to Watch For
- Headache or nausea
- Weakness or dizziness
- Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin
- Mumbled speech & confusion
- Abnormal behavior
- Loss of consciousness
- Call 911
- Move to a shaded space
- Cool worker down with water, ice or a fan.
- Offer water to hydrate
- Alert a supervisor